More adversarial flights, close intercepts raise concerns of accidents and escalation
NATO and Russian pilots are reviving a Cold War contest of nerves, increasing the risk that airborne close encounters could accidentally spark a conflict.
Over the past three years, the number of adversarial flights near the other side’s planes and ships have increased significantly. The tactic, usually meant as a show of force or used to test tactics, revives a dormant game of chicken long played by Soviet and North Atlantic Treaty Organization pilots.
It was a risky game: Aircraft sometimes narrowly avoided midair collisions, and opposing ships occasionally collided at sea. NATO officials now worry about a new phase of reckless gamesmanship and its consequences.
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